Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly: Allen’s And Elkhart And Lagrange Counties United Way Gets Large Covid-19 Grants From Lilly Endowment

Apr 21, 2020

LAGRANGE — United Way of Elkhart and LaGrange Counties and United Way of Allen County are just two of the 16 different United Ways across Indiana to receive a large grant from Indiana United Ways to help them address many of the local economic, health and human services needs that cropped up because of the coronavirus pandemic.

IUW, the state professional association for United Ways in Indiana, made the grants through the United Way COVID-19 Economic Relief Initiative, which was created with support from a $30 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

The United Way of Elkhart and LaGrange Counties received $1.5 million from the fund. United Way of Allen County received $2.25 million. The IUW made grants totaling $18 million to agencies across the state.

The purpose of the United Way COVID-19 Economic Relief Initiative is to disburse funds expeditiously into local communities to help human services agencies on the front lines provide food, emergency childcare and other critical services. The amounts of the grants are based on the populations of the counties served. These first grants were made to United Ways collectively serving nearly 3 million Hoosiers. The grants were awarded in communities that are facing urgent relief needs and have well developed partnerships to ensure that funds are distributed where they are needed most.

Sue Ehinger, board chair for United Way of Allen County, said in a news release, “Even before this crisis, we knew that nearly 1 in 4 families in Allen County were not able to make ends meet — despite working. Without a robust local nonprofit safety net, those needs are bound to become even more dire. Thanks to generous support from the Lilly Endowment Inc., we are now more strongly positioned to help our community’s nonprofits deal with the immediate impacts of COVID-19.”

United Way of Allen County plans to provide assistance to organizations working in emergency food distribution, housing and shelter support, and medical support services.

Through the initiative, IUW wants to reach all parts of Indiana and is preparing to make additional grants. IUW, through the United Way network, is working with all 92 counties in the state to achieve this goal.

Applications were reviewed by an IUW committee that manages IUW’s ongoing natural disaster response fund.

The other first-round awardees are:

• Lake Area United Way ($3 million): serving Lake and Newton counties.

• Metro United Way ($1.4 million): serving Clark, Harrison, and Floyd counties in Indiana only.

• United Way of Bartholomew County ($500,000): also serving part of Brown County.

• United Way of Greater Lafayette and Tippecanoe County ($1.3 million): also serving Benton and Carroll counties.

• United Way of Greater LaPorte County ($625,000).

• United Way serving Howard & Tipton Counties ($500,000).

• United Way of Miami County ($225,000).

• United Way of Monroe County ($1.2 million): also serving Greene and Owen counties.

• United Way of Putnam County ($225,000).

• United Way of St. Joseph County ($1.6 million).

• United Way of Southwestern Indiana ($1.95 million): serving Spencer, Gibson, Posey, Vanderburgh, and Warrick counties.

Ron Turpin of Fort Wayne, board chair for IUW and board member emeritus for United Way of Allen County, said in a news release, “In response to this pandemic, United Ways in Indiana are doing what we are known for, focusing on what is most needed and executing on what works locally, getting leaders to work together, and finding remedies to problems. Thanks to generous support from Lilly Endowment, United Ways and their partners in Indiana will be even better positioned to help their communities deal with the immediate impacts of COVID-19.”

United Ways will leverage local partnerships to assess needs and make investments in organizations that are working to meet community needs. United Way grantees may serve multiple counties with their award and will likely release funds locally in rounds based on changing needs. United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI), a member of IUW, announced its own COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund on March 13, which was launched with a $15 million grant from Lilly Endowment. UWCI released its first round of funding decisions on March 24 and a second-round on April 7. Lilly Endowment announced an additional grant of $3.5 million in early April to provide COVID-19-related support for five counties served by UWCI in addition to Marion County.

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